(Or, The Increasingly Dubious Events Surrounding Elowen Toreguard)
The group rest, while Elowen tries to sort herself out. Felix helps her trim the vestments so she can actually walk in them, and then uses the spare fabric to craft her some undergarments. She dons the bone armour and is given some food. While she finishes sorting herself out, Felix is examining the contents of the tent and surrounding area. He finds tucked away, behind a rock outside the tent, a box that contains the notes of one Nevil Theramore, some kind of anthropologist who had been studying the kobolds before, they (presumably) killed and possibly ate him. Interested, Felix stows them in his pack for later reading.
The others are chatting and resting, while he continues his poking of things within the tent. Many of the clay jars that sit on small shelves contain bugs or powders – reagents presumably for the cleric to use. In one far corner however, there sits an object under a once-plush velvet cloth. The cloth stirs under an ethereal wind. By now the others have noticed him poking around, and despite their protestations, he pulls back the cloth to reveal a crystal ball. Recalling her last uncanny experience with a scrying ball, Elo screams at him to put that thing back, or so help me, but it is too late.
Felix is held in thrall as images are projected from the ball to his mind. He sees kobolds clambering over piles of dwarven bone, a barbarian kobold doing it’s grizzly job and cutting the heads from dwarves. Then the image shifts and he sees a evil looking man, a necromancer, surrounded by the bodies of dead kobolds. In his hands he holds a glowing orb, which breaks into smaller orbs, each entering the body of a kobold, causing them to rise as Death Knights. Felix feels the man turn to look directly at him, and he says ‘these things are two way, you know.’ With that the connection is severed, and Merri hurries to put the cloth back on the ball.
Elo is recovered enough, and they decide that it would be prudent to move on.
They wander through the winding ruins of a dwarven-now-turned-kobold settlement, with Merri trying to use her dwarven stonecunning to track down a cavern like the one that Felix described seeing in his vision. As they do so, they come across a peculiar sight:
A large group of what seems to be kobold clerics are being led towards a dark maw of a cave entrance. They are surrounded by an equally large number of kobold guards, being harried by a larger than average kobold with a whip, and to the side watching stands an odd looking kobold.
The group decide that clearly these priests are true believers of Kutulmack otherwise they wouldn’t be in shackles, and thus they don’t support the necromancers. Recalling Scrikclaw’s sacrifice for Elowen, and his belief that the enemy of my enemy is my friend , they decide to try and save the priests. Also it means less fodder for the Death Knight pot.
They launch their attack, with Zege and Merri taking charge. A group effort takes out the task master and the weird looking guy who stands to one side, and Zege cleaves his way through the remaining mook-kobolds.
Once the day is won, Felix, who speaks kobold, speaks to the clerics. He tells them that they are here to get rid of the Death Knights and the necromancers, and the group want to know how to find Torg so they can kill him. In return, he says, the group want to release them from their shackles. Elo steps forward with her lockpicks but the clerics are reluctant to trust the group, and shy away.
There is a lot of chittering and yapping from Felix and a lot of gesticulation towards Elo who stands awkwardly and smiles in what she hopes is a disarming fashion until Felix is done. Suddenly there are some very excited yips and yelps and it seems like there is a bit of an argument going on between the kobolds, and a small group try to pull away from the others, while still more come forward and seem to be asking Elo questions. Through Felix, they ask if the grime she is covered with is in fact the afterbirth from Kutulmack raising her from the dead, if Scrikclaw did indeed give his life for her, and she tells them that yes, it is all true.
Elo wants to know why they are asking her such things, and when pressed, Felix reveals that, with a small amount of desperation to make them trust him, he may have mentioned that Elo is the chosen one of Kutulmack – his interpretation of both Scrikclaw and Elo’s rendition of events that she would become a demon, and the God’s vessel. She is shocked and outraged and demands Felix tell them he was wrong, but it is too late. Many of the kobolds are coming towards her, their manacled hands held out in supplication. Besides, it is argued, the kobolds – some of them at least – now trust her, and they can help the group complete their mission objectives. Elo is unhappy, but reluctantly agrees.
“Why can’t we ever just ask for directions?” Enezege.
Elo sighs and sets about freeing the kobolds, however eight near the back, still shy away from her. One freed kobold, who seems to have been elected the leader of their little band, approaches Felix and tells him that these eight belive calling an outsider the Chosen of Kutulmack to be heresy, and they won’t even let her touch them. Instead, with glares and self righteous sniffs, the eight gather up their chains, declaring – according to Felix – they will keep them as a badge of their unwavering faith, and depart back the way they were coming from. Twenty-two remain behind.
Exhausted and out of magic, the spell casters insist on stopping and getting a proper night’s sleep. Felix relays this to the leader of the kobold clerics, who agrees that his people need to also rest. They find a good place, and set up a small camp inside a dilapidated building. Outside the clerics set their own camp up, and come over to ask if the group want to break bread with them. The group agrees – they haven’t had a hot meal in a while, and the look on the face of the leader says his people would be very hurt if the offer was refused.
They eat, set up watches so the spell-slingers will get their rest and the ‘night’ passes uneventfully.
The next morning they wake to see a fog outside their rest area. Merri says it’s not just any obscuring mist, but Obscuring Mist – a spell that protected them while they slept. When the kobolds spot they are awake and moving, the leader comes over. He holds out a hand which glows with green energy towards Elo. She looks to Merri for advice and the Cleric of Moradin, nods yes – whatever spell it is, it’s safe. Elo takes the kobol’s paw and he says, ‘You can understand me now, yes?’ Turns out that it is a spell that allows the entwined creates to speak each other’s tongue as though they were native speakers. The Kobold introduces himself as Cragspine, a Cleric of the first power (as are all his people), and asks if they would like to break fast with the kobolds, as they are boiling water. Elo agrees for the group, and asks if there might be enough water for a bath for her? Zege questions if now might be the best time, but she snaps that she’s still covered in clammy grossness, and she would like a God’s damn bath, thankyouverymuch. Cragspine, hesitantly asks if that is still then the gore from when she was resurrected and he asks if she would allow them to bathe her. She asks for a moment, turns to Merri and quietly freaks out, while the practical dwarf tells her that it’s a religious thing, and if Elo doesn’t want to risk offending their new allies, she will man the fuck up and get bathed by a bunch of kobold clerics.
It turns out it’s not quite as bad as all that. The translation spell helps add nuance to the word ‘bath’, and the kobolds provide a modest, discreet and sacred service. Not all of the creepiness is gotten rid of however, as the gunk removed from her skin, and the used bathwater, are placed in special urns. Minor arguments break out over who should carry them, but all is settled eventually.
While she is being bathed, Felix and the others are discussing with Cragspine how exactly to find Torg and end this damn mission so they can just go home. The helpful kobold provides them with a map of the caves and tunnels that make up the kobold ‘city’ and pin-points exactly where they can find Torg, and the cave where the death knights are made. When Elo returns to the group, clean and dressed, the others are raring to go now they know how to find their target. Cragspine interjects, and asks if Elo thinks the Clerics can be of use in the inevitable fight. She asks if they could find a safer place to hole-up, i.e. not around her. A vote is held, and for his people, Cragspine politely declines her offer, saying that the kobolds think the safest place for them is around her.
With that, they all gear up, break camp and head off to maybe hopefully finally end Torg and the Death Knight menace.